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Contact Details

Phone
+64 3 479 7351
Email
melanie.laird@otago.ac.nz
Position
Research Fellow
Department
Department of Anatomy
Research summary
Evolutionary biology
Memberships
  • Anatomy Emerging Researchers Group
  • Anatomy Research Committee

Research

I am an evolutionary and comparative biologist with a specific research interest in marsupial reproduction.

My work spans a range of disciplines, including genetics, epigenetics, reproduction, development and evolutionary biology. I'm interested in big picture questions that address how and why biological patterns arise.

I am currently investigating several aspects of marsupial?reproduction, including how immature gametes develop successfully and how adult prostates turn ‘on’ and ‘off’ as part of seasonal breeding. Understanding the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms involved in these phenomena can shed light on the evolutionary processes that have shaped mammalian reproduction.

Publications

Bond, D. M., Ortega-Recalde, O., Laird, M. K., Hayakawa, T., Richardson, K. S., Reese, F. C. B., Kyle, B., McIsaac-Williams, B. E., Robertson, B. C., van Heezik, Y., Adams, A. L., … Gemmell, N. J., Alexander, A., & Hore, T. A. (2023). The admixed brushtail possum genome reveals invasion history in New Zealand and novel imprinted genes. Nature Communications, 14, 6364. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41784-8

Laird, M. K., & Hore, T. A. (2021). Primordial germ cell expression of SSEA1 and DDX4 (VASA) in female Trichosurus vulpecula (Marsupialia) reveals conserved and unique molecular patterns during marsupial germ cell development. Reproduction, Fertility & Development, 33, 189-197. doi: 10.1071/RD20203

Laird, M. K., Hansen, V. L., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2020). Uterine epithelial remodelling during pregnancy in the marsupial Monodelphis domestica (Didelphidae): Implications for mammalian placental evolution. Journal of Anatomy, 236, 1126-1136. doi: 10.1111/joa.13162

Laird, M., & Whittington, C. (2019). The first known case of eggs plus live birth from one pregnancy in a tiny lizard. Science Education News, 68(3), 47-49.

Laird, M. K., Thompson, M. B., & Whittington, C. M. (2019). Facultative oviparity in a viviparous skink (Saiphos equalis). Biology Letters, 15(4), 20180827. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0827

Bond, D. M., Ortega-Recalde, O., Laird, M. K., Hayakawa, T., Richardson, K. S., Reese, F. C. B., Kyle, B., McIsaac-Williams, B. E., Robertson, B. C., van Heezik, Y., Adams, A. L., … Gemmell, N. J., Alexander, A., & Hore, T. A. (2023). The admixed brushtail possum genome reveals invasion history in New Zealand and novel imprinted genes. Nature Communications, 14, 6364. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41784-8

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., & Hore, T. A. (2021). Primordial germ cell expression of SSEA1 and DDX4 (VASA) in female Trichosurus vulpecula (Marsupialia) reveals conserved and unique molecular patterns during marsupial germ cell development. Reproduction, Fertility & Development, 33, 189-197. doi: 10.1071/RD20203

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Hansen, V. L., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2020). Uterine epithelial remodelling during pregnancy in the marsupial Monodelphis domestica (Didelphidae): Implications for mammalian placental evolution. Journal of Anatomy, 236, 1126-1136. doi: 10.1111/joa.13162

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Thompson, M. B., & Whittington, C. M. (2019). Facultative oviparity in a viviparous skink (Saiphos equalis). Biology Letters, 15(4), 20180827. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0827

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M., & Whittington, C. (2019). The first known case of eggs plus live birth from one pregnancy in a tiny lizard. Science Education News, 68(3), 47-49.

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., McShea, H., Murphy, C. R., McAllan, B. M., Shaw, G., Renfree, M. B., & Thompson, M. B. (2018). Non-invasive placentation in the marsupials Macropus eugenii (Macropodidae) and Trichosurus vulpecula (Phalangeridae) involves redistribution of uterine Desmoglein-2. Molecular Reproduction & Development, 85(1), 72-82. doi: 10.1002/mrd.22940

Journal - Research Article

Whittington, C. M., O'Meally, D., Laird, M. K., Belov, K., Thompson, M. B., & McAllan, B. M. (2018). Transcriptomic changes in the pre-implantation uterus highlight histotrophic nutrition of the developing marsupial embryo. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 2412. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-20744-z

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Dargan, J. R., Paterson, L., Murphy, C. R., McAllan, B. M., Shaw, G., … Thompson, M. B. (2017). Uterine molecular changes for non-invasive embryonic attachment in the marsupials Macropus eugenii (Macropodidae) and Trichosurus vulpecula (Phalangeridae). Molecular Reproduction & Development, 84(10), 1076-1085. doi: 10.1002/mrd.22861

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., McShea, H., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2017). Uterine remodelling during pregnancy and pseudopregnancy in the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula; Phalangeridae). Journal of Anatomy, 231(1), 84-94. doi: 10.1111/joa.12610

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Turancova, M., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2017). Uterine focal adhesion dynamics during pregnancy in a marsupial (Sminthopsis crassicaudata; Dasyuridae). Anatomical Record, 300(6), 1150-1159. doi: 10.1002/ar.23535

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Hearn, C. M., Shaw, G., & Renfree, M. B. (2016). Uterine morphology during diapause and early pregnancy in the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii). Journal of Anatomy, 229(3), 459-472. doi: 10.1111/joa.12483

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Turancova, M., McAllan, B. M., Murphy, C. R., & Thompson, M. B. (2015). Unlocking amniote live birth: The 'other' mammalian model. Journal & Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 148(455-456), 52-59.

Journal - Research Article

Laird, M. K., Thompson, M. B., Murphy, C. R., & McAllan, B. M. (2014). Uterine epithelial cell changes during pregnancy in a marsupial (Sminthopsis crassicaudata; Dasyuridae). Journal of Morphology, 275(10), 1081-1092. doi: 10.1002/jmor.20282

Journal - Research Article

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